NBA

Many Raptors ‘unsatisfied with roles in Toronto’

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There could potentially be more issues on the good Raptors ship.

Speaking about his May 31 report in which he raised the possibility that Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby was unhappy with his role, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer appeared on Nate Duncan’s Dunc’d On podcast, where he developed the situation.

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“I’ve been hearing since March that OG Anunoby isn’t happy with his role in Toronto – I mean, there’s a lot of guys who are unhappy with their role in Toronto,” Fischer said in the podcast released Wednesday. “I can understand why people might see this as a blast, (but) he hasn’t had a trade request yet and I know the title is a bit of a sensation.

“But, listen, he was asking a question. Does he want to leave Toronto is a question a lot of people around the NBA are asking right now. So, all of that being said, I really think there’s a definitive truth that he wants more opportunities.

Several Raptors are said to be unhappy with their role on the team. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Fischer’s May 31 report was titled “NBA Offseason Update: Does OG Anunoby Want to Leave Toronto?” The story mentioned that since the trade deadline, the Raptors reportedly declared their top six players in Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa untouchable. But at the same time, the Raptors covet a quality starting center.

Names like Jarrett Allen, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and former Raptors first-round pick Jakob Poeltl were mentioned in the article, along with three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, whom Fischer reported as the Jazz was potentially shopping at the Raptors in a store.

To make a move like that, however, the Raptors would have to trade Anunoby and another moderately large contract like Trent’s, meaning two of Toronto’s supposed top six players would be let go.

According to Fischer, however, this might not be a problem due to Anunoby’s seemingly unhappy disposition.

“To be clear, there was no trade request, like I said, and also, the Raptors aren’t buying it,” Fischer said. “I never said either of those things. But, I mean, the Raptors definitely commit to teams and at the deadline, I said those six guys were untouchable. … But, from this point on, the change is that he seems to be very available, seems to have an interest in having more opportunities, which, if he is and another team offers him and that he sees more than is available in Toronto then things will open up.

Anunoby averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game last season and shot 36.3 percent from three-point range on a career-high 6.6 ranged attempts per game. However, as has been the case for much of his career, the injury bug got the better of him as he only played 48 regular season games.

That combination of him missing a lot of time and Barnes’ emergence as the league’s rookie of the year likely dropped Anunoby to the fourth option behind Barnes, All-NBA performer Siakam and star guard VanVleet.

“The Raptors are looking to step up here,” Fischer said. “So if there’s a deal like the Rudy Gobert frame that comes on the table or a cross that they looked at – they looked at Jarrett Allen like I wrote it and the pace was great – and they were talking to the Mavericks about (Kristaps) Porzingis before that deal fell apart and they went after Thad Young.

“If there’s something that they think makes them better and OG is their path to getting there, I think that’s probably the more likely scenario rather than selling it. I don’t think that they’re going to sell it at all. I don’t think that’s what this is about.”

In other words, Anunoby is an asset like any other quality NBA player and, therefore, could be traded. Or not. No one really has a clue.

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